Supreme Court takes on gay rights, DACA and guns in new term

Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel A. Alito. Top Row: Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Get ready for a potentially blockbuster term at the U.S. Supreme Court.

After a relatively low-profile year, the justices convene on Monday to hear cases on major hot-button issues whose decisions will come down in the heat of the 2020 campaign.

“We will likely see a court moving further and faster in a rightward direction,” said Irv Gornstein, executive director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law School. “The docket almost guarantees it.”

At the top of the docket are cases on employment discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender Americans; President Donald Trump’s elimination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, for young undocumented immigrants; life sentences for juvenile offenders; gun rights; and — likely — abortion.

“The court has within its hands the ability to affect the lives of 800,000 DACA recipients; tens of millions of lesbian, gay and transgender people who may or may not be protected by anti-discrimination law depending on what the court decides; and half of the country, if the court takes up an abortion case,” said David Cole, national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. “It will be a momentous term for the rights of individuals.”

The court could also wade into the legal battles over Trump’s emergency declaration for a border wall; the administration’s ban on asylum applications from migrants who do not cross at legal ports of entry; and whether members of the Electoral College — who cast the actual votes for president — may choose whomever they want regardless of their state’s popular vote.

“This question has floated below the radar because we assume they will be loyal,” constitutional lawyer Tom Goldstein, who founded SCOTUSblog, said of the faithless electors case. “But it actually could have enormous practical consequences.”

Rebecca M | BNN News

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